July 23, 2019

Achievements and Challenges of the United Nations' General Assembly: Paper presentation at the annual IAMCR Conference in Madrid

MEDAS fellow Roja Zaitoonie has presented a paper on "The Achievements and Challenges of the United Nations’ General Assembly in the Field of Media and Public Communication" at the annual conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) in Madrid.

The paper examines nearly 1.600 subject-related resolutions adopted by the General Assembly between 1945 and 2018. It highlights the achievements and

challenges of the General Assembly in the field of media and public communication and provides a basis for further investigation and knowledge-based advocacy concerning the promotion of freedom of information and media development in global governance.


June 1, 2019

The last fellow joined MEDAS 21

Johanna Mack is the last doctoral student who joined the research school MEDAS 21 on June 1, 2019. In her project, she will focus on another aspect of media development cooperation and complete the range of topics.


November 8, 2018

Successful Inaugural Lecture: MEDAS 21 – Global Media Assistance in the 21st century

Dr Roukaya Kasenally, CEO of the African Media Initiative, talked about the sustainability of African-European media cooperation.

The MEDAS 21 team with its partners. Photo: Marcus Kreutler
The MEDAS 21 team with its partners. Photo: Marcus Kreutler

The new research program MEDAS 21 – Global Media Assistance in the 21st Century started on 8th November 2018 with a successful inaugural lecture in the Erich-Brost-Institute for international journalism (EBI). For the next four years, the structured doctoral program will focus on media development cooperation and is supported by VolkswagenStiftung with about 1,7 million euro. MEDAS 21 is one of only eight supported research schools in Germany that is located at the intersection of university theory and practical application. 


Not only guests and friends of the Brost-Institute but also students and teachers of the Institute for journalism had the chance to listen to an exciting presentation of Dr Roukaya Kasenally, keynote speaker that evening. As CEO of the African Media Initiative, she could give a brief overview of the current developments, problems and discussions about media development cooperation. 


Dr Kasenally put an emphasis on the question of sustainability and efficiency of media cooperation between African and European countries and outlined possible financing and business models. Talking about the related quality requirements, she underlined the challenges media have to face due to the digitalisation of markets and the public sphere. In her opinion, African media need to develop an “African vocabulary” in order to fulfil their growing social responsibility – at that point, international partnerships should take over a leading position. These partnerships needed to act in a less competitive but a more cooperative and constructive way to promote a self-determined and sustainable media landscape. 


The director of the EBI and main notifier of the project, Prof Dr Susanne Fengler, is looking forward to new horizons MEDAS 21 will open: “The support of the VolkswagenStiftung is an extremely positive development. It is and will remain a difficult task to develop successful media companies and foster a public-oriented journalism. Effective media cooperation can thus contribute to boost media potentials.” At the same time, success is not granted. “It is conspicuous that there is no scientific organisation dealing with media development cooperation even though it is a huge topic that has to face lots of complex problems”, says Fengler. “That’s what we want to do in our new research program: promote the dialogue between science and professional practice, concentrate our knowledge, evaluate current developments and offer our results to the responsible media and communication officers in development institutions.” Due to that idea, science will remain at the pulse of social necessity. 



The VolkswagenStiftung supports the structured doctoral program MEDAS 21 – under the auspices of the TU Dortmund’s Institute for Journalism (IF) – with 1,7 million euro. The principal goal of the foundation is to ensure closer ties between theoretical approaches and practical relevance in the education of doctoral students. Besides Prof Dr Susanne Fengler (TU Dortmund), Prof Dr Barbara Thomaß (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) and Prof Dr Jens Loenhoff (Universität Duisburg-Essen) initiated the project. Dr Dirk-Claas Ulrich (EBI, TU Dortmund) conceived the research school and is scientific program director. The team of scientists has already cooperated in the context of the graduate program “School of International and Intercultural Communication | SIIC”, supported by MERCUR. The school focuses on current developments in media development cooperation under changed technological and political conditions. Furthermore, the seven PhDs have the chance to work up to one year in a cooperating foundation or NGO. Project partners are Deutsche Welle Akademie, Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), African Media Initiative (AMI), Media Cooperation and Transition (MiCT) as well as the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO) and the Swiss Fondation Hirondelle.


July 1, 2018

The first six out of seven fellows joined MEDAS 21

Michel Leroy, Stefan Wollnik and Roja Zaitoonie were the first doctoral students joining the research school MEDAS 21 on July 1, 2018, followed by Mira Keßler and Viviane Schönbächler on August 1 and Fabiola Ortíz on November 1. In the next years, they will focus on different aspects concerning media development cooperation. MEDAS 21 can be seen as "interdisciplinarity within a discipline", promises innovative theoretical approaches and focuses solutions to problems of practical relevance.


Erich Brost Institute

Dr Dirk-Claas Ulrich
Program Director MEDAS 21

Otto-Hahn-Str. 2

44227 Dortmund


Tel: +49 231 755-6976

Email: dirk-claas.ulrich@tu-dortmund.de

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